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From disruptive rebel to trusted advisor: our 20-year journey

Commerce Decisions is proud to be celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year.

We’ve come a long way since the concept for Commerce Decisions was conceived by our four founders in a hot tub.  In a marketplace full of e-tendering tools, they saw the need for a solution that focuses on complex evaluation, to support those projects that account for a significant part of an organization’s budget, and the majority of the risk.

Officially established in 2001, the company grew rapidly with Angel Investor and Venture Capital funding, until it was sold to QinetiQ in 2008. We were subsequently acquired by Harris Computer Corporation in November 2020. Harris is part of Constellation Software, a Canadian based diverged software business which generates over $3bn of annual revenue.

Many of our team have been with us for a significant part of the journey so far; this brings essential knowledge and experience as well as continuity for our clients. Over the years, we have recruited talented people, being mindful to focus on selecting those who will share a passion for the absolute core of what Commerce Decisions is about:

 ‘delivering better outcomes by helping people around the world benefit from the right decisions being made on important projects’

As we celebrate this 20-year milestone, it’s been interesting to look back at the journey that has led to AWARD® becoming the market-leading evaluation solution, trusted by project teams across the globe:

  • 2002: our very first order came from the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the JETTS project.  Since then, MOD has become our single largest client –  AWARD® was hosted on their internal network in 2004 and by 2013 we had an enterprise licence in place. Last year, we were delighted to be awarded a four-year contract to deliver the complex evaluation capability of MOD’s Defence Sourcing Portal.
  • Over the years between 2002 and 2012, we deployed AWARD® into 200 new organisations, including NHS, Welsh Government, NI Government, London 2012, Crossrail, Department for Transport, Transport for London, Crown Commercial Service and Department for Work and Pensions.
  • By 2012 we had successfully supported over $100bn of projects. We also contracted with our first customer in Australia and established an office in Canberra in 2013 to support our rapidly growing business there.
  • Three years later, in 2015, we closed our first order in Canada, and started building a hugely successful team in Ottawa.
  • By 2019, we’d reached an astounding $500bn of projects supported across many countries including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, France, Finland, Brunei and Qatar.  

The demand for our thought-leadership has increased dramatically over the years, and in response we’ve worked to embed our expertise into our solutions for the benefit of all. Since 2010, we’ve been incorporating our own proven methodologies, Structured Criteria Development (SCD) and Real Value for Money (RVfM) into AWARD®, and we are constantly looking at innovative approaches that enable us to deliver more value and better outcomes for our clients. We have also recently launched our Evaluation Masterclass, a series of expert training courses incorporating our expertise and offering practical insights gained from our 20 years of experience in the complex evaluation space.

Whilst our client base and locations have grown and developed, and our offerings expanded, one thing that has remained constant is our positioning as a specialist provider, focussed on delivering the best possible support to the most complex, high risk and/or politically sensitive projects. The procurement landscape is ever-changing with many new software providers entering the market over the last 10 years or so, as well as countless acquisitions and consolidation, resulting in a few large end-to-end sourcing providers. Throughout all this change, we remain committed to a best of breed approach – recognising that complex procurement requires a specialist solution with more depth of functionality than an eTendering/eSourcing tool. Moreover, our AWARD® solution can be set up and ready to go in a matter of hours, with little training needed to get you and your team up to speed, unlike the platforms that offer an abundance of functionality across many processes and take months to onboard. There has been growing acceptance from the market in recent years that better outcomes are achieved by the deployment of several different solutions to meet your project/organisation’s particular challenges rather than a single ‘one-size-fits-all’ platform, of which much of the functionality is not needed and barely used.

This approach allows us to keep the needs of our clients at our very core – it’s by listening to their feedback, needs and challenges, that we can best innovate our offering and provide the focused support and thought-leadership they need to succeed.

And so, whilst we may have started our journey as the disruptive rebel who wanted to do things differently, our position has firmly shifted to become a trusted adviser, providing best of breed solutions that really make a difference. If you’d like to find out more, or to speak to one of our experts, please get in touch.